Tag Archives: liberal democrats

Video: 3 reasons to vote for Dorothy Thornhill in Watford

The Watford campaign team have given us all a lesson in how to do video campaigning this election. First there was this introduction to Dorothy as a person, and now there are three solid policy reasons to vote for her:

Three Reasons to Vote Dorothy from Think About It Films on Vimeo.

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Lord Navnit Dholakia writes..Lib Dem BAME manifesto takes pro-active approach to valuing different cultures, combating racism and reducing inequality

My core belief that we all have a right to be treated fairly without reference to colour, race, nationality or ethnicity is one of the reasons I have remained committed to the Liberal Party and the Liberal Democrats for over fifty years. The party’s fundamental rejection of prejudice and discrimination is just as important now as it was when I joined the Brighton Young Liberals in the 1950s.

Britain has a proud record in race and community relations, but at a time when we see the rise of the divisive politics of parties like UKIP, it has never been more important for the Liberal Democrats to stand up for equality and diversity.

Today the party has launched its BAME Manifesto. It spells out how we will continue to protect the rights and opportunities of Britain’s ethnic minorities – the right to live in peace, to receive an education, to get a job, to raise a family free from fear, and, above all, the right to be treated fairly without reference to race, colour, national or ethnic origins.

Our culture and economy is stronger as a result of the diverse range of people who have chosen to make Britain their home. In government we’ve made huge progress in securing Britain’s economic recovery and helping businesses to grow. Self-employment and the small business sector is especially important for BAME communities. In the past 12 months alone a third of all the new businesses set up through the Start-Up Loans initiative have been by Black and Minority Ethnic entrepreneurs. But there is still more to be done to help BAME entrepreneurs. So we will build on the Coalition’s BME Access to Finance report to identify ways to encourage more BAME applicants to apply for finance and set up small businesses, and monitor and tackle the BAME pay gap. We will build on what we have already achieved in government by raising the tax free personal allowance to at least £12,500 by the end of the next Parliament, ensuring that many BAME workers who work part time or on low to middle incomes benefit from a further tax cut.

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Manifesto: A clever shifting of the coalition question

Nick Clegg 2015 manifesto photo by Liberal DemocratsWhen I first realised that the manifesto launch was going to take place in a nightclub, I was slightly concerned, given last year’s lacklustre launch in the Ministry of Sound. Lessons have very clearly been learned from that launch. The backdrop was brightly coloured, the place was full of people. Even watching on the television, the atmosphere was clearly buzzing. One reporter even referred to it as “the love lounge.”

Until the technology failed him and cut the event short, Nick Clegg was on top form. If this party ever needed a leader at the top of his game, it’s now and he delivered. He set out in convincing form why he and not Nigel Farage or the SNP needs to be in the next government. His was a message of optimism underpinned with responsibility. For me, the “enabling everyone to get on in life”, which later morphed into Opportunity for Everyone, is the most important part of our message, and it was elevated to centre stage today:

At its heart is one word that is absolutely central to what Liberal Democrats believe: opportunity. No matter who you are, where you were born, what sexuality or religion you are or what colour your skin is, you should have the same opportunity to get on in life. We want to tear down the barriers that stop you from reaching your potential. We want to smash the glass ceilings that keep you from achieving what you want to achieve. Your talent and your hard work, not the circumstances of your birth, should decide what you can be.

When we formed the Coalition in 2010, three quarters of our manifesto became part of the Government’s agenda. The priorities on its front page: fairer taxes; investment in the poorest children in schools; fixing the economy; and political reform, became central to what the Coalition Government did.

That’s why this manifesto matters. It is a programme for a liberal Government with decency, tolerance and generosity at its heart.

That for me is the best bit of his speech. The heart and brain stuff is what everyone is talking about, with as many Wizard of Oz comparisons as you like, but remember that that leaves us as the little lion who finds out that it actually does have loads of courage.

While Cameron has been telling Middle England that the only way to protect themselves from the nasty SNP doing ever-more ridiculously implausible deals with Labour is to vote for his party, Clegg has come back today and told those same voters: It’s ok, I’m here, I’ve done it before, you know I’m sensible. He’s presented his record, showing how he kept his word and delivered his priorities from last time and outlining how he intends to build on that over the next five years. Values, consistency and clarity may yet prove compelling for the electorate. 

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Pramod Subbaraman, Edinburgh South Lib Dem candidate talks about need for greater diversity in politics

Edinburgh South’s Liberal Democrat candidate Pramod Subbaraman has given an interview to the Coalition for Racial Equality and Rights blog. He talks about his background:

I was born and raised in Southern India and moved to the UK in 2005 at the age of 28. I moved at that time as I was invited by the Department of Health to help fill the shortage of dentists in the English NHS. It was not an easy ride as there were a lot of hurdles erected for immigrants from outside the EU and that did take its toll, but I jumped over those hurdles, occasionally knocking a few and had to start again in places. I started working in England and then moved to Scotland in 2013. I joined the Liberal Democrats in 2010 and am now the candidate for the General Election to represent the people of Edinburgh South\

He talks about the need for more diversity in politics:

Politicians and the Electorate always seem to find reasons and excuses and keep on selecting and electing white men from political backgrounds and political jobs to parliament. It just does not make sense. Just as the most successful businesses are those that reflect the diversity of their target populations in their workforces and on their boards, so too should politics be! But it isn’t and I am part of the solution to that problem. I would represent the large Visible minorities as well as present one face for diversity in my party which in parliament is the least diverse of parties.

When asked about problems facing minorities in his constituency, he goes reassuringly off-message:

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Video: Nick Clegg on the Manifesto. It’s all about opportunity

 Here’s Nick Clegg talking from the back of the Big Yellow Bus about the main theme of our manifesto:

Opportunity for ALL. That's what our manifesto is about. That's what the Liberal Democrats are about

Posted by Nick Clegg on Wednesday, 15 April 2015

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Manifesto: What a Liberal Democrat United Kingdom would look like in 2020

Manifesto Lib Dem visionThe preamble to the manifesto looks at what Britain would look like in 2020 if Liberal Democrat policies were implemented. It certainly sounds like a country I want to live in. I am pleased to see that it is seen as a priority to tackle the culture of everyday sexism with decent, mandatory sex education.

I certainly like the look of our “five year plan” – although I might have preferred it if we didn’t call it something quite so Kremlinesque. Here it is in full. 

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Nick Clegg’s foreword to the Liberal Democrat manifesto

You can read the whole manifesto here but here is Nick Clegg’s foreword setting out its themes and how it builds on what the Liberal Democats have already delivered in government.

Dear friend,

When Liberal Democrats launched our 2010 General Election

manifesto, few people expected that many of the policies it contained would be implemented by the next Government. But that’s what happened: three quarters of those policies formed the backbone of the Coalition’s programme.

Front-page commitments like raising the Income Tax threshold and investing in the poorest schoolchildren through the Pupil Premium became flagship Coalition policies.

With Liberal Democrats in Government to deliver them, those policies have started the work of building a stronger economy and
a fairer society, with opportunity spread across the whole United Kingdom.
Despite tough economic circumstances, those policies are making a difference to people’s lives and helping make Britain a freer, greener, more liberal country.

But our mission has only just begun. You can’t build a stronger economy and a fairer society, and spread opportunity to every citizen, in five years.

For the first time, this is a Liberal Democrat manifesto that builds on a record of policies delivered in national government.

We can say we will finish the job of balancing the books, but do so fairly, because we have started that job in this Parliament.
We can say we will cut taxes for working people by raising the tax-free allowance to £12,500 because we have raised the tax-free allowance every year since 2010.

We can say we will protect funding for education from nursery to 19 because we have protected schools funding and invested in early years education in Government.

We can say we will increase health funding and invest in mental

health because we have protected the NHS budget in Government and introduced the first ever waiting-time standards for mental health.

And we can say we will protect our environment because we have almost trebled the amount of electricity from renewable energy in this Parliament.

In our fast-changing world, the fundamental question political parties face is: do we want to continue to be an open society, confident and optimistic about our place in the world, or do we want to become a closed one, increasingly insular and backward-looking? For Liberal Democrats there is only ever one answer: we want an optimistic, open-hearted and outward-looking United Kingdom.

In Government for the next five years, Liberal Democrats will continue to build a stronger economy and a fairer society with opportunity for everyone. This manifesto sets out how.

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45,455

Things continue to look up on the Liberal Democrat membership front. During the first 3 months of this year, there’s been a net gain of 775 members,  bringing us past the 45,000 milestone to the figure you see in the headline.

This is the eighth consecutive quarter in which we have made gains, which is outstanding given our positioning in the polls and the fact that we are in government.

So why are we growing in membership? Well, for a start, we may be concentrating our campaigning in our held seats but we have made it a key priority to give all local parties an incentive for recruiting members. The more their membership grows, the bigger the percentage return for them.

What’s interesting is that these new members are not confined to areas where we are strong. 

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Opinion: What’s in a name ?

 

Having recently finished reading a biography of Charles Kennedy, which covered the merger of the Liberal Party and SDP in detail, I pondered for some time on the controversy surrounding the names and philosophy of political parties.

In the late 1980s the Social and Liberal Democrats or SLD were lampooned as the Salads, the use of the shorter Democrats was unpopular because it omitted the word liberal, so we ended up with the Liberal Democrats – a title that is now long established.

If you look beyond the UK though, the confusion really begins.

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++Lib Dems hit another big fundraising target

Great news! Just after midnight last night, Tim Gordon, Chief Executive of the Liberal Democrats, sent this message to party members from his Blackberry:

Posted in Party policy and internal matters | 6 Comments

Nick Clegg and the Lib Dems can be very proud of themselves

In the photo above, Nick Clegg leaves Number Ten Downing Street this morning for an audience with the Queen upon the dissolution of Parliament.

We’ve had many debates on this website about the record of the Lib Dems in government. Nick Clegg has received shedloads of stinging criticism.

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Back to the days of toxic factionalism in the Labour Party – will they ever learn?

I’ve always felt that the Labour Party would be much more effective if they could put their energies into fighting the problems the country faces rather than fighting each other. We all remember the schism between Gordon Brown and Tony Blair from Day 1 of their administration which overshadowed everything they did. Do you remember the time when they decided to show everyone what good friends they were in the run up to, I think, the 2005 election, sitting  together uncomfortably on the GMTV sofa.

Today the Sunday Times (£) shows us that toxic factionalism is still alive and well in the Party. Brown and Blair couldn’t even get on when things were going well for them. The two Eds, Miliband and Balls are apparently at daggers drawn and Balls may face demotion after recent blunders:

A shadow cabinet member said if Miliband becomes prime minister he should move the shadow chancellor and accused Balls of behaving with “contempt” towards colleagues and “undermining the leader’s agenda”.

Frontbenchers attacked Balls last night for committing Labour’s two worst gaffes of the election campaign so far.

They said his reputation as a “safe pair of hands” had been shattered when he failed to name a single Labour business backer and told voters they should get a receipt for work done cash in hand, both of which attracted ridicule.

Senior figures also expressed frustration and incredulity that Balls has dug his heels in over funding a cut in English tuition fees from £9,000 to £6,000 a year — three years after Miliband first backed the policy and with the announcement due at the end of this week.

Insiders say a meeting between Miliband and Balls last Wednesday, which many hoped would settle the policy, had “ended badly”.

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LibLink: Danny Alexander: A defence of our role in Coalition, whatever Jeremy Browne thinks

Danny Alexander takes to the pages of the Independent to challenge the points made by Jeremy Browne in his critical interview in that paper yesterday.

He looks back at the recessions of the 80s with their mass unemployment and misery and highlights the differences in approach brought into government by the Liberal Democrats. This, he says, has brought about a quicker, fairer end to the economic downturn:

Liberalism is about individual freedom, fairness and opportunity. And freedom, fairness and opportunity cannot flourish without a strong economy.

Today, Britain has the strongest growth and fastest job creation of any advanced economy. Inflation is benign, business investment is rising and we have record numbers in work. By any measure, Britain is making strong progress and opportunity is increasing.

This recovery has not come about by accident. It has been hard earned by millions of people and businesses. But we needed the right economic climate for the recovery. That climate is the direct result of liberal values in the recovery plan – fairness and opportunity. Delivered in the Coalition by Liberal Democrat policies – a balanced approach to dealing with the deficit; raising the income tax personal allowance to make work more attractive; creating apprenticeships to give people the skills they need; and the priority we have given to boosting investment in regional and local businesses, innovation and infrastructure. This is not “splitting the difference” between the other parties. It’s doing things in a distinctly different way, the liberal way.

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Opinion: What might happen after May 7th

This article appeared earlier as a comment on our “Electoral fruit machine” post and is reproduced here with permission from the author.

(After May 7th) I believe the Lib Dems will have more than 20 seats and less than 40, with many polls and commentators going for somewhere around the 30 mark, at the moment. From all the qualitative data I’ve seen so far that seems a fair estimate in political science. Anything less than 20 would be a shock, as Lord Ashcroft’s polling indicates that this is not going to happen.

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Liberal Democrats publish their election manifesto front page

Manifesto_Covers_2015The Liberal Democrats are today launching the front page of their General Election manifesto. The front-page will set out the five Liberal Democrat priorities for forming a government after May 7th. The Scottish and Welsh Liberal Democrats will also today unveil their manifesto priorities, including greater devolution of power to Scotland and Wales. Nick Clegg will launch the campaign on a visit to a primary school in the Conservative-held constituency of Oxford West and Abingdon.

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++Lib Dems to publish election manifesto front page tonight

At one minute past midnight tonight, the Liberal Democrats will publish the front page of their 2015 election manifesto, outlining their main priorities for governing the UK.

This is a great move by the party, capturing the voter’s attention with our main focus areas, up-front in the campaign.

We’ll carry the full details here on Liberal Democrat Voice from one minute past midnight tonight.

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What will the electoral fruit machine* come up with on May 7th?

This post is reserved for new and infrequent commenters. “Infrequent” is defined as having posted less than five comments in the last month.

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Dear Tories, repetition doesn’t make something true. Cutting income tax for lowest paid was a Lib Dem idea and you know it.

lib dem manifesto tax cutFor some time now, the Conservative Party have been taking every opportunity to take credit for raising the tax threshold to £10,500 despite this being one great big fat distortion of the truth.

Most recently, Surrey Liberal Democrat councillor was distinctly unamused to find an email from Tory Treasury Minister Priti Patel in her inbox. It said:

Fiona,

See how much our income tax cuts will save you – try our quick calculator today.

The Conservatives believe in cutting taxes.

If you’re working hard to provide for your family, you should keep more of the money you earn.

That’s why we’ve cut income tax every year we’ve been in office – and why we’re committed to keep on cutting income tax after the next election.

Over 24 million people have had their income tax cut. To find out how much you’ll save, use our simple tax cut calculator today:

Find out how much you'll save

Yours,

Priti Patel

Nick Clegg told last year how he had to “drag the Tories kicking and screaming” to deliver the tax cut.

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Nick Harvey: ‘If you think we are going to spend another five years being shafted (this time) by Labour, you’ve got another think coming’

The Liberal Democrat coalition negotiation team leave Cowley Street HQ for the fourth day of discussions with the Conservatives May 10th 2010.

Earlier this week we highlighted Nick Harvey MP’s report “Beyond the Rose Garden”. In it, he recommends a range of changes in arrangements for any future coalition governments.

In the wake of his report’s publication, Nick has now given an extensive interview with Huffington Post

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Lib Dems raise £50k for General Election in just one day

Good news from Lib Dem Chief Exec Tim Gordon in our inbox this morning. Yesterday, the party raised £50,000 in just one day from members and supporters. That’s half as much as it raised during the whole of January. Nick Clegg’s appearance on The Last Leg may well have stimulated a good old shot in the bank balance for the party.

What’s particularly good is that the £150,000 raised from members and supporters will be matched by major donors, giving the campaign a £300,000 boost.

This news, combined with the recent news that Liberal Democrat membership rose for the sixth quarter in a row shows steady progress.

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Sal Brinton: “We aren’t dead”

Sal @ Crohns & Colitis Rec _2 CROPPED Nov 13
New Statesman carries an interview with Liberal Democrat President, Sal Brinton. It’s wide-ranging discussion, with Sal in upbeat mood:

The key message is, if I talk to a candidate or other senior people do, make sure that you pass the word on. It’s like handing a torch on to say, ‘actually we aren’t dead, there’s a lot happening, there’s a lot good that we’ve got to talk about in government, and yes there have been things that have been very difficult for us’. But if people only hear about the bad side, and the side that the other parties want you to hear about, we will be missing a real trick.

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Opinion: A good reason to vote LibDem in May

This post is reserved for new and infrequent commenters. “Infrequent” is defined as having post less than five comments in the last month.

Following the start of the 100+ day election campaign, I cannot help wondering what it is the Lib Dems need to do to recover what appears to be a significant dip in popular support. The problem is that we do not appear to be benefitting in the opinion polls from our many achievements in government. This is a shame, because there are so many of them; despite some comments on Lib Dem Voice, which could easily have been written by our political opponents in an attempt to demoralise supporters.

Posted in For new & infrequent commenters, News and Op-eds | Also tagged | 6 Comments

Another Lib Dem website brilliantly topical error message – a pity it’s out of date so quickly

I wish I had seen this yesterday.

Page 3 error message

 

A brilliant response to the debate over Page 3.

The party has been doing this a few times with its error messages recently. It’s very amusing and it also directs people to relevant policy on the website.

Unfortunately, as we’ve all found out, the Sun was trolling us all along. Former presidential candidate and new member of the Diversity Engagement Group Daisy Cooper said this about the Sun’s behaviour on Facebook:

So, pretending to stop Page 3 was just a bit of fun. Raising expectations then crushing them in a humiliating way. Classic abusive behaviour.

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The Greens: the Lib Dem fightback begins

Yesterday’s news that the Greens had overtaken the Liberal Democrats in terms of membership – their 44713, compared to our 44680 – has, from what I’ve seen on my social media, galvanised our activists rather than demoralised them. And so we should be proud of ourselves. For a party in government in the most trying economic circumstances since the 30s to have grown for 6 quarters in a row is nothing short of miraculous. The Labour party couldn’t manage that and they had the most benign economic circumstances in years.

The Green’s figures include Northern Ireland which ours don’t so like for like it’s more neck and neck.  (Update: Adam Ramsay on Twitter assures me that the Greens figures do not include Northern Ireland).  I’ve also seen some people say that it’s not fair because the Scottish Greens and the Green Party of England and Wales are two separate organisations. There’s no point in splitting hairs, though.

The Party has been making a bit of a concerted effort to make sure that the Greens don’t have the stage for themselves. Tim Farron has written an article of the New Statesman in which he emphasises what the Liberal Democrats have done in government to protect the environment:

The Conservatives’ approach to the environment in Europe shows what sort of approach they would take if they are allowed to govern alone. In coalition, Liberal Democrats have fought to make sure that the environment has stayed at the top of the agenda. We’ve doubled the amount of energy generated from offshore wind and stopped the Tories from slashing support for renewable energy. And while senior Conservative politicians voice their doubts about man-made climate change, Energy Secretary Ed Davey has been busy paving the way for a global deal to cut carbon emissions. Without the Lib Dems, there would be nothing to stop the Tories from lurching to the right on the environment. The truth is, the only way to make blue go green is by adding yellow.

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Christmas is coming, draw tickets need to be sent back!

Vince Cable and Father ChristmasThe Liberal Democrat Christmas Draw is a much-loved and lucrative fund-raising institution for the party. From their organising nexus in Surrey, the Christmas Draw elves work hard all year to round up great prizes and send out ticket books by the sleigh load.

The top prize this year is a holiday voucher for £2000! There are 39 other wonderful prizes, such as half a case of champagne, which the elves will endeavour to get to winners before Christmas.

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Charlotte Henry resigns from the Liberal Democrats

Prominent blogger and journalist, Charlotte Henry, has today resigned from the Liberal Democrats. She explains her reasons on her blog:

Today, with genuine sadness, I am resigning from the Liberal Democrat party.

I joined in 2009, becoming an intern for Don Foster MP. There are few better ways to get a political education than chasing after Don. Since then I’ve campaigned and consulted for candidates, held senior roles in the youth wing, and stood for the London Assembly and my local council. However, I can no longer remain in the Liberal Democrats.

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Let’s match up Doctors and (Liberal) Democrat leaders

Screen Shot 2014-11-08 at 16.13.30Tonight is the finale of Peter Capaldi’s first season playing the Doctor. I have been a very poor excuse for a Doctor Who fan this year. I had to cram in four episodes last night to catch up. It’s been difficult to watch them live due to the Referendum, Conference and, ironically, a Doctor Who convention keeping me busy. The added complication is that our house and lounge where our only television is, has been taken over by teenagers every week.

Anyway, I’m now caught up and am livid and awestruck in equal measure. Don’t get me wrong, Capaldi’s Doctor is brilliant – and played fantastically. I hear from people who know that he is so immensely professional on set with every single aspect of his performance fully prepared and worked out. He’s also great at supporting other members of the cast. I also love the fact that we’ve seen different aspects to Clara from grief-stricken derangement to superb leadership. It shows he can write decent female characters (though he managed it with Kate Stewart) so if we could have more of them and fewer of the River Song/Tasha Lem types,I’ll be happy. It’s not that I don’t like River and Tasha, but Moffat’s women come from a very small range.

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Cardiff Council under Lib Dems: Clear leadership, effective financial management. Cardiff Council under Labour: Fragmented leadership, weak performance

One of the most heartbreaking things about the last four years has been seeing really good, outstanding Liberal Democrat Councillors lose their seats and Liberal Democrat councils losing office through no fault of their own.

This stuff matters because, frankly, if the quality of services a Council provides deteriorates, people suffer.

Compare and contrast the Wales Audit Office reports of 2011, when the Liberal Democrats were in power, and 2014 when Labour were two years into their term of office.

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Opinion: Why I rejoined the Liberal Democrats

I sit here having just rejoined the Liberal Democrats. I was previously a member and considered getting active in my local area. I left because I felt dismayed by the type of politics that I was seeing happening around the country. UKIP were making gains in the European elections, every politician I hear or representative blamed other parties for the failures of the past. In 2010 I was very active within my personal capacity to do so. I delivered campaign material on the doors in all weathers. I had conversations with lifelong Conservative voters in an attempt to highlight the reasons why more Liberal Democrats in Parliament would be good for society. However, since then it seemed that even 4 years on everyone blames someone else for things not getting better.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 18 Comments

++ Susan Gaszczak resigns from the Lib Dems over handling of Chris Rennard allegations

Susan Gaszczak and her family have quit the party over the handling of the Chris Rennard allegations. Earlier this afternoon, Susan tweeted this, including her open resignation letter:

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